August 27, 2013

Crispy Oven Baked Parmesan Chicken

Most people on Planet Earth, love crispy crunchy chicken. Fried Chicken is a beautiful thing, we all understand that, but it can be, very literally, a hot mess to prepare and it's not the most low fat dish in the world. Here's a delicious way to still enjoy that crunchy goodness without the hot oil and high fat content that comes from frying.

I didn't come up with this dish to make food that was reduced fat, I came up with it because I am always on a quest for great flavor combinations.

Crispy Oven Baked Parmesan Chicken

4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into large strips
2 tbsps Creole or Cajun Seasoning, divided
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
Granulated Garlic
Paprika powder
Dried Thyme leaves
Dried Marjoram
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1-1/2 cups, fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup water
1 cup rice flour
1/2 tbsp olive oil

You'll need 2 large bowls for dredging the chicken. Preheat the oven to 195C. Get a cookie sheet and line it with baking paper.

In one bowl mix rice flour, egg a dash of salt and olive oil, whisk and slowly add water until your batter is the consistency of a thick pancake batter. You want it to easily stick to the chicken pieces.

Wash the chicken strips and dry them, well. You don't want any liquid on the chicken stopping the batter from adhering to it properly. Season the chicken pieces with 1/2 of your Creole (Cajun) Seasoning and drop it into the batter. Mix it around well and set it in the refrigerator while you make your dry mixture.

In the other bowl, mix bread crumbs, thyme, marjoram, the remainder of the Creole Seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, granulated garlic and Parmesan cheese. mix well.

Get your lovely little chicken strips from the fridge and give them another mix around in the batter and begin to dredge in the dry mixture, coating it well. Place the strips on the cookie sheet, leaving good room in between each piece. Don't place them too close or it will not crisp properly.

Bake the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and then gently flip each piece and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and it ready to munch!!!

I served mine with Black Eyed Peas and Brown Rice. You can serve it along with anything you choose, a great salad works nicely. It also makes for a great leftovers like lunch, sliced on top of a Cesar Salad!

photos courtesy of Paul David Longstreth


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Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa & Spicy Yogurt Sauce

SO! Its been a while since I've posted to my cooking blog. Life has been super busy with my "real" job, singing and touring. This is a good thing. Now, don't think I haven't been cooking up a storm, because you can look at my robust figure and see that I most certainly have been!! HA!

My best friend and the piano player that I've collaborated with for almost 20 years, Paul David Longstreth, has been staying here in Norway with Peto and I, working on playing more in Europe and writing original music. He is very interested in learning more about cooking for himself and for friends and family. So, when we're not working on music, he and I have been having little workshops on how to prepare delicious meals.
I am not a chef. I am a vocalist who loves to cook almost as much as I love to sing. I don't claim to have the knowledge of a chef. I know how to make food that tastes great to me, my family and my friends and over the years, they have truly enjoyed the meals I've created. I've learned tips and tricks from REAL chefs to help me with being a better cook. When Paul asked if I could teach him to make good food, I knew this was something I could do!

This past Tuesday, after a trip to the mall and to have an oil change done on my car, we had to make something quick, but tasty for dinner. I decided that the lesson for Paul would be to make fish tacos!
Now, this sounds super simple and it is, but its SOOOOOOOOOOO delicious!!!! I made mine with salmon, but you can use a fish of your choice.

The first thing is to prepare the Mango Salsa. Mango is light and delicious and pairs beautifully with fish. I also find that peaches and nectarines also work well, so if you don't have access to mango, you can use fresh peaches or nectarines.

Mango Salsa

1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 toes garlic finely minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup minced curly leaf parsley
The juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tbsp ruby red grapefruit juice (optional)
1 medium tomato, seeded & diced
1 cucumber, diced
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Mix it all up in your bowl, cover with plastic film and refrigerate.
Voila! You're done with the Mango Salsa